Book Review by Ellen Goodwin
March 6, 2020
It is increasingly recognised that religion and religious actors have an impact on humanitarian processes. That being said, the international community continues to marginalise religion and religious actors. On top of this, both academics and humanitarians currently employ little or no reflection on the role that the secular plays in humanitarian responses. Dr Olivia Wilkinson’s new book Secular and Religious Dynamics in Humanitarian Responses responds to these gaps and limitations. The book demonstrates why and how secular-religious dynamics should be taken into account in the future of humanitarian studies and practice. Distinctively, the author emphasises the secular as a crucial part of secular-religious dynamics which impact the success of humanitarian responses. Wilkinson is well placed to respond to these gaps in her role as Director of Research at the Joint Learning Initiative for Local and Faith Communities; an international collaboration on evidence for faith groups’ role and contributions to local community health, wellbeing and ending poverty. As a result, Secular and Religious Dynamics in Humanitarian Responses presents a necessarily challenging and compelling contribution to the field of Religion and Humanitarianism.